2 Kings 7:2
Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, Behold, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? And he said, Behold, you shall see it with your eyes, but shall not eat thereof.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) Then a lord.And the adjutant (shâlîsh: comp. 2Samuel 23:8; 1Kings 9:22; 1Chronicles 11:11), or aide-de-camp or esquire (equerry).

On whose hand . . . leaned.—Comp. the similar expression in reference to Naaman (2Kings 5:18).

Leaned.Was leaning.

Behold, if the Lord . . . this thing be?—This may be correct. Even granting the very unlikely supposition that Jehovah is about to make windows (Genesis 7:11) in the sky, to rain down supplies through them, the promised cheapness of provisions can hardly ensue so soon. Or we may render, “Behold, Jehovah is going to make windows in the sky [i.e., to pour down provisions upon us]. Can this thing come to pass?” In any case, the tone is that of scoffing unbelief. Reuss renders, with French point, “Voyez donc. Iaheweh en fera pleuvoir! Est ce que c’est chose possible?”

Behold, thou shalt see.—Literally, Behold, thou art about (i.e., destined) to see. Elisha partly imitates the speech of the scoffer, which begins in the Hebrew with “Behold, Jehovah is about to make windows.” (Comp. 2Kings 5:26.)

2 Kings 7:2. A lord on whose hand the king leaned — When he walked; said, Behold, if the Lord would make windows in heaven — Through which he should rain down corn, as once he did manna; might this thing be? — He could not conceive, considering the prodigious famine that then reigned in Samaria, and their being surrounded by a powerful army, that it was possible there should be such a change wrought by any means in a few hours, as that there should be such plenty to-morrow, where there was such want and distress to-day. He judged, as we too generally do, according to the visible appearance of natural and instrumental causes, and did not consider that with God all things are possible. Thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof — A just punishment for his unbelief, by which he made not only the prophet, but God himself, (in whose name Elisha had long given full proof that he spoke and acted,) a liar. Here we see, as we have often seen elsewhere, that unbelief of God’s declarations and promises is a sin whereby men both greatly displease him, and deprive themselves of the favours he designed for them. The murmuring Israelites saw Canaan, but could not enter in because of unbelief. “Such,” says Bishop Patrick, “will be the portion of those who believe not the promise of eternal life; they shall see it at a distance, but never taste it.” Take care, reader, that this be not thy case! that a promise being left thee of entering into his rest, thou do not fall short of it.7:1,2 Man's extremity is God's opportunity of making his own power to be glorious: his time to appear for his people is when their strength is gone. Unbelief is a sin by which men greatly dishonour and displease God, and deprive themselves of the favours he designed for them. Such will be the portion of those that believe not the promise of eternal life; they shall see it at a distance, but shall never taste of it. But no temporal deliverances and mercies will in the end profit sinners, unless they are led to repentance by the goodness of God.A lord - Rather, "the captain," as in Exodus 14:7; 1 Kings 9:22; etc. The term itself, שׁלישׁ shâlı̂ysh (derived from שׁלושׁ shâlôsh, "three,") may be compared with the Latin "tribunus."

Windows - Rather, "sluices" (compare Genesis 7:11). The "lord" means to say "If Yahweh were to open sluices in heaven, and pour down grain as He poured down rain in the time of the Deluge, even then could there be such abudnance as thou speakest of?"

2. a lord on whose hand the king leaned—When an Eastern king walks or stands abroad in the open air, he always supports himself on the arm of the highest courtier present.

if the Lord would make windows in heaven—The scoffing infidelity of this remark, which was a sneer against not the prophet only, but the God he served, was justly and signally punished (see 2Ki 7:20).

On whose hand the king leaned, when he walked. See 2 Kings 5:18.

If the Lord would make windows, through which he could rain down corn, as once he did manna.

Shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof; a just punishment for such peremptory unbelief, whereby he made not only the prophet, but even God himself, (in whose name it was evident Elisha said and did this and other things,) a liar. Then a lord, on whose hand the king leaned,.... Not figuratively, in whom the king confided, but literally, on whose hand he rested, and by whom he was supported, being a form and matter of state, while he and Elisha were talking together, or on whom he leaned as he came to him; this was a principal lord, the third to the king, as his title seems to denote; the word by which the Septuagint renders it is by Suidas (u) interpreted of such that held three spears in the hand together; and this was an honourable post, for a king to lean on him; such state was used by the king of Syria, 2 Kings 5:18 and by the kings and queens of Persia; so Gorionides (w) says of Esther, that on the third day; she put on her beautiful garments and glorious ornaments, and took two of her maidens with her, and put her right hand on one of them, and leaned upon her in a royal manner, or as was the manner of kings: the same

answered the man of God; the prophet of the Lord, as the Targum:

and said, behold, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? it is impossible it should be, if he was to open the windows of heaven as at the flood, and let down showers of wheat and barley, in like manner as he rained manna in the wilderness:

and he said; the prophet in reply to him:

behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof; wheat and barley sold at the above price, but should not taste of it, as a punishment of his unbelief.

(u) In voce (w) Heb. Hist. l. 2. c. 4.

Then a lord on whose hand the king {b} leaned answered the man of God, and said, Behold, if the LORD would make {c} windows in heaven, might this thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not {d} eat thereof.

(b) To whom the king gave the charge and oversight of things as in 2Ki 7:17.

(c) He mocked at the prophets words saying, that if God rained down corn from heaven, yet this could not come to pass.

(d) Your infidelity will be punished in this when you see this miracle, and yet not partake of it.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. Then a lord] R.V. the captain. This is the usual rendering except in this narrative. The same change is made by R.V. in verses 17 and 19. The word is originally the title of some military officer. Hence the greater fitness of ‘captain’.

on whose hand the king leaned] For the expression cf. 2 Kings 5:18, where Naaman describes himself as attending in this capacity. By taking the hand of any one as they walked by their side royal persons shewed their friendship and confidence.

Behold, if the Lord would [R.V. should] make windows in heaven] There is no mark of the hypothesis in the Hebrew, as is shewn by the italic ‘if’ of A.V. But the sense is hypothetical. Literally the words are ‘Behold the Lord [is] making &c.’ This is said in derision. Almost as if the captain had said, ‘I suppose then the Lord is going to make &c.’ and then he follows his scorn with a question. ‘Even then, could [R.V. might] this thing be?’ For ‘windows of heaven’ cf. Genesis 7:11.

thou shalt see it with thine eyes] The answer to this mocking captain would be as hard for him to comprehend as was the promise of abundance which he was deriding. He, a person in close attendance on the king, to see the store which was promised and not partake of it was inconceivable. Doubtless his mockery grew louder still.Verse 2. - Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned; rather, the lord, or the captain, as the word שׁלישׁ is commonly translated (Exodus 14:7; Exodus 15:4; 2 Samuel 23:8; 1 Kings 9:22; 2 Kings 9:25; 2 Kings 10:25; 2 Kings 15:25; 1 Chronicles 11:11; 1 Chronicles 12:18; 2 Chronicles 8:9). (For the habit of kings to lean on the hand of an attendant, see above, 2 Kings 5:18.) Answered the man of God, and said, Behold, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? The king makes no reply; he waits for the result. But the officer on whose arm he leans is not so reticent. Utterly incredulous, he expresses his incredulity in a scoffing way: "Could this possibly be, even if God were to 'make windows in heaven,' as he did at the time of the Flood (Genesis 7:11), and pour through them, instead of rain, as then, a continual shower of fine meal and corn?" Disbelief is expressed, not only in the prophetic veracity of Elisha, but in the power of God. Hence Elisha's stern reply. And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof. At once a threat and a warning. If the thing was to be, and the lord to see it and yet not profit by it, the only reasonable conclusion was that his death was imminent. He was thus warned, and given time to "set his house in order," and to repent and make his peace with the Almighty. Whether he took advantage of the warning, or even understood it, we are not told. As the king was passing by upon the wall to conduct the defence, a woman cried to him for help; whereupon he replied: אל־יושׁעך יי, "should Jehovah not help thee, whence shall I help thee? from the threshing-floor or from the wine-press?" It is difficult to explain the אל which Ewald (355, b.) supposes to stand for אם לא. Thenius gives a simpler explanation, namely, that it is a subjective negation and the sentence hypothetical, so that the condition would be only expressed by the close connection of the two clauses (according to Ewald, 357). "From the threshing-floor or from the wine-press?" i.e., I can neither help thee with corn nor with wine, cannot procure thee either food or drink. He then asked her what her trouble was; upon which she related to him the horrible account of the slaying of her own child to appease her hunger, etc.
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